Updated: Jun 24, 2021
Bring all the tailgating spirit home this year
Football season looks different this year. Some games have limited fans in the stadium, others don't have any fans at all. You might think this cancels your tailgating football plans for 2020, but don't throw in the towel so easily.
All that team pride and delicious food don't really need a parking lot or even a vehicle. It just needs the right menu, traditions, and fans willing to take the party with them. We'll show you how.
We've actually been homegating for the last several years. Work took us far from our families' favorite teams, to a city that makes it nearly impossible to go to any type of live game. But we weren't willing to let that cancel our game days!
Setting up a great homegating party is actually not that different from a good tailgate. You just don't have to drive! Plus, you have easy access to your kitchen and fridge, not to mention other handy amenities, like decent bathrooms.
Follow these easy tailgating tips for the perfect game day:
1. Set up the Game
It's hardly a tailgate or a homegate if you can't watch the football game. Make sure you have a screen, enough seating, and that your media connection is working the day before. No one wants to miss the kick-off while you hunt down a password.
2. Time Management
Know what time the game starts, and work backward from there. Just like at the stadium, you want time to enjoy the party before heading to your seats.
3. Prep Ahead
Whether you're grilling in the parking lot or the backyard, you want to have as much of the food and drinks prepped ahead of time as possible. This goes for tailgating appetizers, snacks, grilling, dessert, and drinks. The more you can prep ahead of time and just have to pull out of a cabinet, cooler, or fridge, the more time you have to enjoy with your friends.
4. Plan Your Menu
You know that good tailgating food will make or break your day. Everyone wants to be well-fed and satisfied when the game starts. Check out El Yucateco's YouTube channel for a whole range of perfect homegating recipes to try. If you already have a favorite tailgating menu, start there! Now you just have the added flexibility of a kitchen nearby if you need it.
5. Finger Foods
Steer clear of those utensils for game day, even if you're at home. Finger foods are faster to serve, easier to eat, and always more fun than regular dinner table fare. You want your football party foods to feel like you're at the stadium, even from the couch. The best tailgating snacks don't need utensils, anyway.
6. Keep Drinks DIY
If you're the grill master, you can't also be bartending. Keep everyone happy and hydrated by making a DIY drinks station. Set up a cooler (or kiddie pool) full of bottled and canned drinks and tie a bottle opener to one handle. This way, no one has to go looking, and it can't wander off. Next, pre-mix a few creative cocktails and serve them in large pitchers or drink dispensers with labels. This keeps it simple, with no bartending required.
7. Grill the All-Stars
Every group of fans has their own favorite tailgating recipes. Does your crew love saucy burgers? Fiery wings? Chili dogs? Whatever disappears off the table in seconds, start with that. You'll keep everyone happy and fed.
Then, add in some variety. Spice things up with some pulled pork or that grilled Bloody Mary you've been dying to try out. A solid pairing of something beloved with something adventurous will keep everyone happy without overwhelming the grill master.
8. Enjoy the Game
The #1 tip for a good homegate is to remember why you're celebrating. You and your fellow fans are here to have a good time and enjoy a game you love. It's easy to get caught up in details, and you may be missing a few folks who can't come this time. It's okay. Look around at the friends or family who are present, ready to cheer on your favorite team. Whether you're tailgating Ole Miss or homegating the Patriots, you're doing it because you love it. Enjoy the moment.
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